Tara Taylor – Founder and Artistic Director
Tara is passionate about theatre and making a difference. She stepped through many ‘doors’ before pursuing the dream that is Purple Stage Door Productions. She has an Honours Bachelor of Arts in Drama Studies, a Bachelor of Education and a teacher training certificate through Dance Masters of America. Tara has stage managed over a dozen University productions, performed and managed at Canada’s Wonderland, taught dance, and performed blacklight puppetry in Toronto.
Much of Tara’s experience involved working with a range of ages with special needs and differently abled individuals. Her high school worked with the E.C. Drury School for the Deaf, which provided daily opportunities to engage and interact with their staff and students and learn about the traditions and values of deaf culture, as well as American Sign Language. She spent five years performing and touring with the Famous PEOPLE Players– a blacklight theatre troupe comprised of adults with learning disabilities. Tara attends KidsAbility Centre for Child Development, where her youngest daughter receives therapy services and actively engages with many different ages and abilities. As a result, she advocates for early intervention and inclusiveness, and actively participates in fundraising efforts and raising awareness around children’s potential to overcome challenges. In August 2019, Tara proudly became a Certified Instructor with Rhythm Works Integrative Dance.
Tara knows the strong value that theatre skills have in settings beyond the traditional stage. Her experience includes retail, administration, teaching, restaurant and guest service where her skills and knowledge transitioned her to a position as a Cultural Representative and Trainer at Walt Disney World. As Artistic Director of Purple Stage Door Productions, Tara strives to ‘open’ opportunities such as these to others.
Michael Taylor – Musical Director and Chief Operations Manager
Michael has a B.A. from the University of Toronto, music and drama and has been involved in the Toronto music and theatre communities since 1998, following over ten years of training with both the Royal Conservatory of Music and St. Michael’s Choir School. He studied voice with Carol Baggott Forte, Stephen Hegedus, Gabrielle McLaughlin and Kristine Anderson. Michael has been both a soloist and chorus member with Victoria Scholars, Cantemus, Musikay, Tryptych, Oakville Choral Society, Arcady, and the Georgetown Bach Chorale, and continues to sing in various church choirs.
Theatrically, Michael started in university as a stage manager. He landed a performance position with Famous PEOPLE Players black light theatre, coaching adults with special needs for over eight years. From 2010 thru 2015, Michael performed lead tenor roles with Toronto’s St. Anne’s Music and Drama Society (Gilbert & Sullivan Community Theatre). Michael’s directorial debut occurred in 2010 when he produced, co-wrote, and arranged the music for a Nativity play called “Immanuel.” The thirst to direct and work in a “coaching” capacity was born at that moment. He continues in this vein organizing Christmas concerts, entertaining at retirement homes, teaching piano, and music directing and set building for Milton Youth Theatre Productions. In short, Michael’s mission is to help develop young singers, actors and dancers into confident team-centred performers who know when and when not to steal the spotlight.
Kim Jesch-Belvedere – Producer
Kim is the Artistic Director and Founder of Milton Youth Theatre Productions (MYTP) – Milton’s first youth theatre company. She has recently celebrated over four decades of teaching in the arts industry. During her career, Kim has been a performer, choreographer, adjudicator, teacher and studio owner. Growing up in a ‘dance family’ (Audrey Meredith Dance Centre), a graduate of Kent State University- Teachers Training Program and has two teaching certifications through Dance Masters of America and Canadian Dance Teacher’s Association. She has worked with many Community theatre companies before she decided to blend her passion of dance with her love of theatre performance to create MYTP.
Kim strived to create an inclusive space where her students could create, be educated and would inspire themselves and their peers when she opened MYTP’s doors back in 2003. Today, Kim still believes there are many doors to be opened, talents to be unlocked and individuals of all abilities to be inspired! Kim has known Tara and Michael both individually, professionally and personally for many years and couldn’t think of a more perfect duo to give the keys to. Purple Stage Door is another brave space for all!
Danielle Mitchell – Instructor
Danielle is a post-secondary student at Sheridan College, studying to become a Certified Athletic Therapist. Her passion and drive to pursue this pathway was inspired by her love for dance alongside her desire to help others. Danielle started as a dance instructor in 2014 and continues to teach children ages 3-17 at The Dance PAC. During her summers, Danielle has worked for Milton Youth Theatre Productions as a camp counsellor and dance instructor allowing her to learn and develop an extensive knowledge on theatre and vocals. As well, Danielle has volunteered with the Best Buddies program during her 4 years in high school, forming connections and devoting her time to each individual she has met. She helped greatly with their educational needs which involved helping with school activities, spending lunches together, as well as ensuring the students are comfortably integrated into school events.
A main focus for Danielle is inclusivity and communication. Through her experience as a volunteer and instructor, she has developed ideas and methods to encourage participation and confidence for individuals of all ages and abilities using a combination of teamwork, motivation, and positive reinforcement. Danielle is excited to be a part of the wonderful team at Purple Stage Door Productions!
Introducing our Official Mascot!
Key-Ho enjoys bringing thoughts and dreams to life through Purple Stage Door Productions! As our company mascot, Key-Ho will play an important ROLE by representing our vision and mission of inclusion and opportunities beyond the traditional stage. Key-Ho is very helpful, and loves to show EVERYONE how fun and rewarding it is to learn, play, and create TOGETHER. Key-Ho wants to help your inner STAR shine bright! Key-Ho is full of fun but also a little sneaky! Watch for our friend and mascot to appear in all kinds of places and take on all kinds of forms! As a face-less character, Key-Ho can be anything it wants to be – and so can YOU! Key-Ho is super ready to use theatre workshops as a KEY and start unlocking potential in ALL of US!